December 7, 2015

Starman, episode 5 "Best Buddies"

On a bus to Phoenix, Starman shoots awake from a nightmare, and Scott explains to him the mysterious mechanics of dreams. They're headed to a photo assignment Liz lined up for "Paul Forrester" so they can get some extra cash, and arriving at their hotel, Starman is recognized by the friendly staff, who also kindly hand him a $260 bill for a bar tab left behind by Paul during his last stay. While in the lobby, Jake Lawton, a howling man in a business suit, rushes over and wraps Starman in a huge hug. Seems he and Paul worked in Vietnam together, he as a journalist, Paul as a photographer. They haven't seen each other in a decade, and Paul apparently never responded to his letters, but Jake buys him a drink and invites him home for dinner that night, then excuses himself as he has a business meeting with a Japanese client for his current importing business.

December 5, 2015

Starman, episode 4 "Blue Lights"

In a small rural town in southern California, the inhabitants delight in how clockwork the routine has become as waitress Laurie signs off each evening to meet up with Charlie Ewing, a cheerful if insecure deputy sheriff who's often down on himself, even as he's hoping for a promotion. It's because of this that he's been unwilling to fully settle down with Laurie, much to her chagrin.

November 22, 2015

Starman, episode 3 "Fatal Flaw"

Starman and Scott are taking a hot dog break alongside a dirtbike track, where Starman reveals he's been reading up on photography and wants to try putting the cover profession of Paul Forrester to some use. He ultimately ends up with a face and camera full of dirt when he gets too close to the track, but when he spots a rider who wiped out with a broken arm who's about to be hit by a truck, Starman uses his orb to lift the boy to safety. The rider notices, though, and spots Starman as the man drags Scott away and they hit the road.

November 8, 2015

Starman, episode 2 "Like Father, Like Son"

Scott vows to never pass a hitchhiker again as he and Starman continue to unsuccessfully thumb for a ride. Scott is still bitter and unwilling to connect with Starman, and as soon as they follow a lead on his mother, Jenny, to a mountain lodge, Scott wants nothing more to do with his father. Ducking off the road to avoid a police traffic stop, Starman decides to put the $600+ in cash Liz gave him to use in buying a car. As they arrive at a used lot, Scott cautions Starman about the dishonesty of dealers and the importance of haggling. After shenanigans, they pull out with a car.

November 1, 2015

Starman, episode 1 "The Return"

In Chicago, photographer Paul Forrester is awoken after a night with a beautiful model by his editor, Liz Baynes, bursting into his hotel to tell him he's going to miss his flight to Nicaragua. These two have a complicated relationship, having once been lovers, but now being combative business partners as she lays into him over his plans to swing by the erupting Mount Hawthorne first to snatch some pics before leaving the country. He swipes some cash from her purse, ducks a punch (a routine gesture to them now), and rushes out the door. Sure enough, he arrives at the volcano and the helicopter he hired gets caught in a plume.

October 24, 2015

Starman - The Movie


For those who don't know, I've been hosting a podcast for a while called Masters of Carpentry, in which myself, my co-hosts Alexander & Julia Adrock, and occasional guests, have been working through the entire filmography of writer/director/composer John Carpenter. There was some question about how I wanted to cover the television series Starman, a followup to his classic film, and since it met most of the criteria we were looking for here (short-lived: check! genre piece: check! available on DVD: bonus!) Tony was kind enough to agree to explore it with me here. This isn't so much us taking a break from the status quo so we can tie into something else as it is a very natural crossover, and a way to kill one project with two blogs instead of doubling everything up on both. After all, this would have been on our to do list regardless (though maybe not until after The Phoenix and The Powers of Matthew Star).

October 17, 2015

Vytor: The Starfire Champion, Final Thoughts and the Film Cut


Okay, dear readers, I'm going to give you a choice when it comes to my final thoughts on Vytor: The Starfire Champion. Short version or long version.

Short version:

This show blows.

Long version:

October 11, 2015

Vytor: The Starfire Champion, episode 4 "Wilderland"

While walking about his homeland, Vytor suddenly runs into an invisible wall. Turning, he finds himself sealed in on all sides in an invisible cell. The cell is hoisted into the air by Dreadlock, who gloats that even the power of Starfire can't break through a barrier created by the Saturn Orb. He drags the cell back to Myzor's citadel.

October 4, 2015

Vytor: The Starfire Champion, episode 3 "The Spirit Tree"

Myzor bitterly watches on his monitor as the Terrons throw their centennial Spirit Tree celebration. The Spirit Tree, a massive, beautifully gnarled feature just outside their town, is a symbol of peace which filters the local drinking water and gives everyone a feeling of tranquility which keeps them from becoming warlike. Every 100 years, it releases a seed into the wind which will fly off to another land and bless it with a Spirit Tree of their own.

September 20, 2015

Vytor: The Starfire Champion, episode 2 "Aerion"

In Terron, Skyla delights as she watches Vytor boast during a practice duel only to be repeatedly knocked down by the elder Eldor. As they all talk of the Starfire Ring, Skyla proposes taking Vytor to her homeland of Aerion so her father, King Artair, can be informed of new developments and that the son of King Trion has been found alive. Vytor isn't keen on flying off to a sky-bound city, but Eldor orders him into it.

September 13, 2015

Vytor: The Starfire Champion, episode 1 "The Starfire Legacy"

In his volcanic castle, the dreaded and mohawk-plumed lord Myzor destroys a robot underling who failed to uncover the location of the Starfire Ring, and promises the same fate will befall the bullish Dreadlock if he doesn't fare better.

Swooping down from the flying city of Aereon in her sentient airship Windchaser, Princess Skyla is eager to explore the fabled lands below and beams as she approaches an island. Windchaser isn't quite so eager, warning her about "savages" and how this is forbidden by her father, King Altair.

August 29, 2015

Bubsy "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" - A One and Done Special

The Game


Noel originally asked me to write a piece about my experiences playing the Bubsy series, but I think its very hard to do so with such an oddly infamous franchise without discussing the character itself.

August 23, 2015

Final Thoughts on Cybersix


There's been several shows we've reviewed here over the last four plus years that I'd never watched before, but in most cases, I at least had a passing familiarity with them. Most of these shows had been from the 80s or early 90s, and the bulk of them were cut from the same cloth as the shows I watched growing up. But here we had something that I'd never even heard of before. Something adapted from an obscure foreign comic in an unique anime style with no familiar writers or voice talent. In short, I went in blind, and with nothing to cling onto.

August 22, 2015

Cybersix, pitch pilot


Holding off on Final Thoughts for one more day, as I suddenly remember this bonus tucked away on the DVD set. Produced by TMS Entertainment and NOA Production, this is a three-and-a-half minute proof of concept short, mostly to show off animation, characters, general feel and action. A lot of what's in here did make it into the finished show, but there's a few interesting elements which didn't.

It starts off pretty much like the opening title sequence, where most of this animation will be used, albeit without the sweeping theme song. Cyber is being chased along rooftops by Fixed Ideas, intercut with creatures swirling around in tubes. Lots of action shots, with the fight from the credits where Cyber is literally jumping from one Fixed Idea to another as she kicks them down going on much longer. It's actually quite brutal at times.

August 16, 2015

Cybersix comic, volume 1, part 2


As with the last half, be warned that the comic I'm looking at here is very not family friendly, with copious amounts of nudity, sex, sexual violence, and violence. Still gonna keep my descriptions to our usual PG-13 standards, but be aware if any of the above doesn't sit well with you.

This is also where we reach the point where I had to start translating material on my own. Again, I've never studied French and am relying on Google for the heavy lifting, so if anything I describe doesn't perfectly line up with what was actually written, that's entirely on me.

Chapter 9

Desperate for another Sustenance fix, Cybersix hunts the rooftops, finding and setting in on a Techno. Realizing he was keeping watch for something, she sees dozens of Fixed Ideas scouring the alleys until they corral a fellow Techno who's trying to escape from them. Cyber wonders if one among that line has finally gone "disobedient" like the Cybers before it, and rescues the Techno, but not before he's knocked out by a bullet graze. Needing somewhere to secure him while digging up more info, she drops him with Lucas, who's always eager to help.

August 15, 2015

Cybersix comic, volume 1, part 1


Recapping a bit of history from our opening piece, Cybersix was originally published as a weekly 12-page comic strip in the Italian magazine Skorpio for two years from 1992 through 1994. It was then released, with additional original stories, as a series of 45 96-page graphic novels, which are most widely available through a series of 12 omnibuses published in French. Unfortunately, the page numbers don't entirely add up, so I don't think those 12 volumes contain the entirety of the series. Have no confirmation of this, though. You never know when Wikipedia has some info wrong. It does look like they may have compressed and redrawn chunks in later years, but I'm not sure.

Those 12 French volumes are what I have. The series has never officially been released in English (nor in Japanese, which is again surprising given the production of the cartoon), which may tie to the creators having bitterly attempted to sue James Cameron's Dark Angel for plagiarism. Only half of Volume 1 has been translated by fans and has been floating around for a while. For the purposes of this review, I completed my own rudimentary translation of the volume. I am not fluent in French, so Google Translate was used. The dialogue is very simple and brisk, so well over 90% translated beautifully, with just a few bits where I had to kind of wiggle around figuring out what was specifically being said.

August 9, 2015

Cybersix, episode 13 "The Final Confrontation"

Out at sea, a fishing boat suddenly runs aground on a fog-shrouded island. They're even more shocked when the island opens an eye and sprouts massive tentacles, smashing their ship before moving on.

In his mansion, José is again berated by Von Reichter, who's had enough and orders his boy to join him in the Fortress, an observatory/lab on a distant bay point overlooking the town. José's peeved, but packs all his Fixed Ideas in trucks and drives them out, never noticing that Data-7 is tagging along to see where they're going. José is greeted by Von Reichter in person, in a lab filled with tubes containing new creations he'll one day unleash. But first, using a password José is quick to sneak a glance at, Von Reichter calls up the plans for the Isle of Doom, the floating mass taking out every ship it passes as it heads into Meridiana's Bay. From there, it'll climb onto the city proper where it will explode, vaporizing the entire populace, including Cybersix, while also making a statement to the world that Von Reichter is a force to be reckoned with. José is stunned that all the hard work he spent taking over the city will be for naught, and doesn't take much comfort in Von Reichter's promise they can start again on a global scale.

August 2, 2015

Cybersix, episode 12 "Daylight Devil"

Cybersix and Data-7 are being chased through the city at night by Griselda, a new creation of Von Richter, who not only has equal fighting abilities, but a gauntlet which fires a spear on a line, and the ability to turn invisible. She has Cybersix completely on the ropes until a gaggle of Fixed Ideas with a rocket launcher bungle things up. Everyone retreats from the fight, bruised and bitter.

July 26, 2015

Cybersix, episode 11 "The Greatest Show in Meridiana"

In his mansion lab, José is completing construction of a giant robot octopus which still has a few bugs to work out. He gets a call from his father, Von Reichter, who holds the boy to his promise that this time everything will go according to plan. As such, he sends the boy a pack of Fixed Idea dogs who lead him into the sewers to Data-7's hideaway where the panther is captured with the help of the robot octopus as well as a giant two-headed robot snake.

July 19, 2015

Cybersix, episode 10 "Full Moon Fascination"

A scared, bespectacled man runs down the street at night. Clutching claw marks on his shoulder, he collapses and transformers into a werewolf. He's bestial, out of control, but another werewolf on a rooftop, shaped like a woman and with long, flowing red hair, speaks of her excitement that she can make others like her.

Lucas is chasing papers in the wind when the bestial werewolf sets on him, raking claws across his shoulder. Cybersix swoops in, taking the creature down until it turns back into the scared man, who runs away. Cybersix is concerned about Lucas' shoulder but dashes off when he says he'll be okay.

July 12, 2015

Cybersix, episode 9 "The Eye"

A Techno arrives at the mansion with a gift for José: a floating eyeball with the power to hypnotize people into a stunned trance. The boy - quickly knocked out of his own trance - is tasked by Von Reichter with seeing what the creature is capable of before it's put into wide use. The boy takes it around town, first testing it on isolated people - including Lori and her gang - then decides to shoot bigger, taking the eye through City Hall, hypnotizing everyone within and claiming the mayor's office for his own. Police quickly surround the building, but they're stunned into trances as well. Additionally, every time the eye stuns someone, it absorbs some form of energy from them, leading the eye to start growing bigger and bigger. And when threatened, it can fire a powerful beam, which it uses now as it sends police cars up in balls of flame. José is shocked by this, but quickly delighted. Even when he gets a call from Von Reichter telling him he's gone too far and to return the eye, José decides to press on.

July 5, 2015

Cybersix, episode 8 "Gone with the Wings"

Cybersix and Data 7 are on a rooftop, pounding their way through Fixed Ideas when, to everyone's surprise, a flock of large, gargoyle-style creatures (later identified as goblins) swoop down from the sky, attacking Cybersix with blasts of targeted sonic shrieks. All she can do is evade until the rising sun is revealed, chasing the goblins off in fright. They swoop down into a subway terminal, terrifying pedestrians and bursting through a train before they disappear down the tunnels, all of which quickly hits the local news. Watching the report, both José and Von Reichter gloat.

June 28, 2015

Cybersix, episode 7 "Brainwashed"

In the basement lab of his mansion, José gloats about the completion of a cybernetic helmet. He summons the Chief of Police (dramatic sting!) who nods as José requests the six best detectives on the force.

In the marketplace, Julian is panhandling with an impressive display of Cat's Cradle. When a group of thugs start shoving through people and toppling stands, Julian trips them up and makes a fool of them. Just as they're about the pound the kid, studly, moustachioed Detective Henrique shows up, sending them to clean up their mess and jokingly inspiring Julian to give their leader his wallet back. Henrique gets a call from his Chief.

June 14, 2015

Cybersix, episode 6 "Blue Birds of Horror"

Adrian is awoken one morning by a strange, blue bird tapping at his window. Walking out that morning, he sees a growing number of these birds setting about the town, merging into and taking over the flocks of regular birds. They're starting to become a nuisance, but most people find them amusing. Arriving at the diner, Adrian finds Lucas complaining about a series of distortions which have begun regularly appearing over television broadcasts and bemoans the possibility of missing an upcoming football game.

June 7, 2015

Cybersix, episode 5 "Lori is Missing"

In his underground lair along abandoned subway tracks, Data-7 is awoken by deep booms and rumbles. He goes off to investigate.

In a lush garden, Lori (the teenage student from episode 1) swoons as Adrian reads her a poem. As he leans in for a kiss, Lori suddenly comes to in the classroom, an angry Adrian pulling out her earbuds and admonishing her for disrupting class. He sends her to the office, where she manages to sneak a peak at his file, noting his address. Later, Adrian vents about Lori's crush to Lucas, who laughs it off.

In his mansion HQ, José delights in a computer simulation for his plan to drill up into the vault of the national bank, but he's interrupted by his father calling in and chewing him out for failing to capture Cybersix. He hangs up on the boy before José can brag about this side mission, but José decides to press forward with it, ejecting the disc with the mission programming and believing his father will understand later.

That night, Lori strides up to Adrian's apartment, a gift in hand, but when she hears a woman's voice behind the door, she peeks in the keyhole and sees a costumed Cybersix, telling someone out of view to relax. Lori stomps off, trashing the gift and figuring Adrian is dating a dominatrix. In reality, Cybersix is talking to a keyed up Data-7, who leads her deep underground to a cavern beneath the sewers, where a horde of Fixed Ideas are prepping a tank with a giant drillbit on the end. Cybersix tells Data-7 to keep watching until they know more about José's latest plan.

The next day, Lucas calls Lori aside, asks her to back off Adrian. She instead vents about the woman she saw, with a description Lucas recognizes, and he confronts Adrian later, wanting to know what his connection is with Cybersix and why he's kept quiet about it all this time despite Lucas constantly talking about her. Adrian refuses to tell, desperately saying he can't, but Lucas feels burned and storms off.

That night, Lori is running from cops down an alley, when she runs smack into José, who's eagerly rushing to launch his plan. Her bag full of CDs spills all over the place, and after she scoops them up and barbs are exchanged, they go their separate ways. Until José realizes his program disc is missing, so she's quickly scooped up by Fixed Ideas and dragged off to a warehouse control center where further barbs stick in José's craw until he finds the disc and starts up his drill. None of them notice Data-7 has been watching.

Adrian finds Lucas in their cafe, and breaks through his anger by saying Lori is missing, even points to the TV where the news is reporting "Lori is missing". They both head out to search for her, albeit separately. Adrian hits his apartment to change, where Data-7 is waiting to lead Cybersix to the scene. They find Lori being gagged after her bullying has resulted in Fixed Ideas laughing at their own boss, but she's still kicking José's ass. With the plan in motion, he and the Fixed Ideas swarm down a tunnel to the underground cavern.

Cybersix takes out the lone guard, freeing Lori, who begrudgingly thanks the woman, then gleefully sets about replacing the program disc with one of her own, and typing in new commands for the drill. Cybersix and Data-7 take out the swarm of returning Fixed Ideas, while José takes manual control over the drill tanks, abandoning his plan for the moment as he burrows up into the warehouse and straight after Cybersix.

Lori is knocked out, but she's protected by Lucas, then both of them are protected by Cybersix, who pleads with him to trust her and Adrian. He doesn't say anything, but gets the girl out as Cybersix dives back into battle. She ruptures the fuel tank during one pass, then while she's standing off against the José and the roaring drill, she casually drops a power line on the pooling fuel, sending the whole thing up just after José scurries away in defeat.

Outside, Lori comes to and appears to be crushing after a new teacher, as she and Lucas smile to a retreating Cybersix and Data-7 as firetrucks arrive. Down below, José scowl says it all as his Fixed Ideas dig him and themselves free of the collapsed rubble.


I still argue Lori's introduction in the first episode was clumsily delivered, but it's great to have an episode to flesh her out a bit more. I still don't get why her gang is so adamantly behind her forcing her crush on a teacher, but I like that they largely take a back seat here, squarely focusing our attention on her personal fixation. The opening daydream is very nicely done, and I also like that there's no attempt here to "fix" Lori or teach her to be a better person. No, she's fallen into a bad place, but holds her own and stays her irascible self as she works with Cyber, and the scenes of her throwing taunts right back in José's face are amusing.

Speaking of, I'm pretty convinced now that this is, if even just partially, a fully scripted show by the American/Canadian writers who have been credited. This one is written by Jono Howard, and while Jono does share some of the dub scripting credits which have made up the entirety of everyone else's other work (primarily Transformers: Armada) he's also our first writer to have gone on to a very fruitful career on shows like ReBoot, Yakkity Yak, Atomic Betty, The Very Good Adventures of Yam Roll in Happy Kingdom, Pet Squad, Mia and Me, and Numbchucks, and was also the primary writer for animator Danny Antonucci on The Brothers Grunt and Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy. That style of screwball humor is all over this episode, with nearly every sequences involving José going into squash and stretch style cartoon slapstick. Even the big end fight involving the drill is played for laughs, with José donning an Enemy Ace bomber helmet and goggles, the drill tank roaring as it pounds in and out of rooms like a Gurren unit, and the comically large maw of Data-7 snapping at him through the little window.

Which isn't to say they lose any of the action of the show, as all of this continues to be exquisitely animated. Even setting aside the comedy, there's some beautiful stretches, like opening on Data-7 waking up and quietly slinking around, or any time Lori is on screen. Someone absolutely loved animating Lori. They've softened her features a bit since episode one, giving her a face and expressiveness more in line with Harley Quinn, who we know some of these animators had worked on. There so much personality in her delivery - when she's scared, when she's playful, when she's pissed as hell - and it's a performance that's a delight to watch and meshes beautifully with the actress portraying her. I wish I knew who that was, but the credits aren't clear. Possibly Janyse Jaud? Regardless, well done.

And that brings me back to the writing as this is a more dialogue-heavy ep than some, and when Lori and José are going at it, they're so expressively animated that their mouths are perfectly lined up with their words, well beyond what we'd get had this actually been a foreign production later dubbed in English, so I'm pretty sure these are the scripts they went in with. Which is interesting as, given this is still primarily a staff of dub writers, this could very well have been their attempts to break into full scripting just as this group of TMS animators were hoping to break into producing shows on their own. It'll be interesting to see if any other writers beyond Jono Howard managed to do so.

So onto other things in the episode, I do like how the Adrian/Lucas/Cybersix tension is building. The protection of the secret identity doesn't have the same artificiality to it that I've been running into recently while reading a heap of Silver Age comics. Cybersix isn't trying to protect Lucas in a way that takes choices away from him. She's scared. She's anxious. She's still uncertain about herself and how she'll be accepted. There's no attempt to justify her action as noble, but it makes perfect sense on a personal level. And the whole wrench in terms of Lucas finding out Cybersix was in Adrian's apartment plays out nicely, with his air of being hurt and feeling like he's not being trusted coming off genuine and not overly played. It's a believable step of conflict in their relationship and I look forward to how it continues to play out.

José continues to be completely unthreatening as a villain, but he's still a hell of a lot of fun. I love how ridiculously simple yet ridiculously complicated his plot is, to dig through the basement of a bank vault, all hinging on a completely off scale 8-bit program. There's really no reason he couldn't just manually do the dig given how much control he had over the vehicle in the climactic battle, but that he's put so much reliance on his pre-programming, it speaks to how stubborn and immature he is. The scene with Von Reichter is great, showing the boy really just does want his father's attention and approval, as well as the great classic comedy bit of Lori and he first running into one another and shuffling up their discs.

I think I'm starting to get used to the hair. It's still not an aesthetic I find pleasing, but it's a consistent part of this world and I'm getting used to it. Even the music isn't too bad in this one as it cuts loose and runs with the comedy. This is a really fun, exciting, hilarious episode, that still has some good character stuff at its heart, and continues the thread of this animation studio blowing me away with the consistency of their stunning animation.

A few extra thoughts:
  • We never found out what was in the gift box from Lori. Given the episode theme, mix-CDs?
  • I actually like that they don't set up Lori's skills with a computer beyond her having a bag full of CDs, and a compact computer that's somehow keyed in show whenever Cybersix is near. That's a skilled bit of offscreen programming.
  • I wonder if there's a story behind the abandoned and rundown control room on the subway line which Data-7 has apparently made into his lair.
  • The standoff with Cybersix holding the power cord is pretty badass.
  • The shot of the drill tank roaring out of the ground before the boombox dude. Laughed so hard at that.


You know, I had a queasy feeling that we weren't finished with the Lori/Adrian crush thing teased in the first episode. I say queasy because, at the very least, it really is a bad sitcom trope. And true to their worst instincts and my worst fears, they go straight to the Bosom Buddies playbook, mining exactly zero laughs in the process. Thankfully they don't push it too hard, or worse, too far. The latter was my primary concern, as there is the potential to be unintentionally insensitive in situations like these. I'm thus happy to report that the most offensive thing about this episode remains the character's hair.

Like previous episodes, we once again get a heavy dose of José. If there's any doubt that José is Darth Vader and Von Reichter is the Emperor, it's put to rest here. Von Reichter seems relegated to the shadows, a disembodied head with a host of nebulous, evil plans, while José is the diminutive physical manifestation of the organization's leadership. That's fine by me, as I prefer his angry antics to Von Reichter's spooky oobie-doobery any day. It's nice to finally see some more interaction between the two of them here, even if it's only via a monitor, and I hope they continue to play up and expand upon their relationship in future episodes.

What I don't quite get here is how José's plan involves capturing Cybersix. When we first see José, he's planning a bank heist. The why I never understood, as it's never voiced and it certainly doesn't appear as if they need the money (unless those large henchman receive a daily food stipend or something). But when Von Reichter voices his displeasure with José's efforts to capture Cybersix thus far, José pledges that he will indeed get her and then proceeds with his bank heist plan that has absolutely nothing to do with that pledge. Maybe he was trying to lure her out into the open? If that's the case, for clarity's sake, they should've voiced it. What follows is a rather uninspired rehash of the kid in trouble plot from last week, with the somewhat annoying Lori being a rather poor substitute for the feisty and likeable dynamic duo of Julian and Ikiko. At least there aren't any large monsters this time around, unless you count the burly Lucas.

One of the things that seems to have fallen by the wayside is the exploration of Cybersix's background. Lacking a traditional origin story, the series seems to instead be taking a slow reveal approach. I liked this, as the mystery works to the advantage of the character and the series as a whole. But this is the third episode in a row that ignores that angle, and I'm starting to wonder if they're abandoning it all together. That would be hugely disappointing.

As you've probably guessed by now, this is a pretty weak episode. Not bad, really. Certainly not Pole Position bad. Just flat, uninspired, and ultimately inconsequential.

If you'd like to watch along with us, the entirety of Cybersix is available on DVD, thanks to Discotek Media.

May 31, 2015

Cybersix, episode 4 "Yashimoto, Private Eye"

Julian walks his friend Ikiko, a young Japanese girl, home, delighting her with card tricks. Inside the apartment/office she shares with her older brother, Yashimoto, José is propositioning the man with a case. José is literally sobbing out a story about precious heirlooms stolen by a thief, Cybersix, and he wants the detective to track down her identity so she can be brought to justice. Something doesn't feel right to Yashimoto, so he turns down the case, even as José turns angry, first offering to pay any price, then turning it into a threat. As José storms out of the office with a Fixed Idea, he sees Ikiko and hatches a plan. They snatch the girl, and when they pass Julian who tries to stop them, they take him as well. Yashimoto has three days to deliver Cybersix to José, or he'll never see his little sister again.

May 17, 2015

Cybersix, episode 3 "Terra"

The shadowy, evil scientist finishes his latest creation: a lump of semi-sentient mud called Terra. At his instructions, José encodes his own essence into Terra, but when the boy is unimpressed at it being an innocent child, he uploads a few Fixed Ideas into it as well. After everyone falls asleep, Terra bursts out of its casing and is drawn to the curiosities of the city.

May 10, 2015

Cybersix, episode 2 "Data 7 & Julian"

In the twisted castle lab of the still unnamed mad scientist villain (we know his name is Von Reichter, but we're playing along until the show decides to reveal that card) he calls forth a panther named Data 7, showing him a picture of two children. As it zooms into one face, morphing it into that of Cybersix, the panther growls, remembering a flower falling apart as a child falls off a cliff. The scientist pets the panther, an ugly scar revealed above the cat's eye, and tells him to destroy Cybersix.

May 3, 2015

Cybersix, episode 1 "Mysterious Shadow"

NOTE: Based on the first few episodes, the lead character of the series appears to be genderfluid, presenting and identifying as male while a civilian, and as female while a vigilante. Out of respect for this, we're going to do our best to use "they/them" pronouns when discussing the character overall, only using "he" or "she" pronouns when specifically focusing on those individual sides of their life. The show itself hasn't really explained the situation in these first few episodes, but should it offer an alternative explanation or preference as we get further in, we'll adjust accordingly. And as both of us are cis-gendered males, if anyone out there with more experience than us in genderfluid identity or portrayals feels that we're doing this incorrectly, we absolutely welcome your comments below and look forward to any input you'd like to offer.

In the city night, monstrous, brutish figures with superhuman strength, Fixed Ideas, snatch up two men from the treasury office, an engraver and a printer. As the Fixed Ideas converge at the docks, they're being observed from the shadows by a figure we'll come to know as Cybersix, a woman in a sleek black suit, cape, and wide-brimmed fedora.

April 25, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future - Final Thoughts


Well, Jonathan Power and his team just passed me a note that reads "Do you like me? Circle YES or NO." So you know what that means, it's time for another Final Thoughts piece. *Sigh* Captain, if only it were that simple.

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was, if nothing else, a bold experiment. First you had the interactivity of the toys and the show. As noted, the final result left something to be desired, but it's admirable that Mattel dared to buck the status quo and risk everything on the success of a fresh approach. And make no mistake, it was a huge gamble. Not only were they taking a chance on new and mostly untested technology, they were doubling down on the synergy between the toy line and the series. Several of our previous Showcases have featured properties that were based on toy lines, but none of them had their fates so inexorably linked to one another as Captain Power. If one failed, both failed, and while that was often the case with these toy based ventures, here it was almost a certainty. The other gambles were more of an artistic nature.

April 18, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future - The Original Bible


Like many people, I'd long been under the impression that Captain Power was pretty much a J. Michael Straczynski show from beginning to end, and it's been interesting learning through this project just how much was already in place before he came on board. Those who have the dvd can see the full details of the show's creation, but to sum up, it's mostly the brain child of Gary Goddard and the folks at Mattel. I haven't mentioned Goddard much here, mostly because a number of charges against him in the last few years, while legally dismissed, left of bit of a sour taste with me, but before then, I had been quite fond of his Masters of the Universe movie (still am, admittedly). He came up with the initial characters, ideas, names, and designs, alongside Landmark Entertainment executive Tony Christopher and artist Luc Mayrand.

April 13, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldier of the Future - Toys, Merchandise, and Training Videos

Apologies for the lateness of this post. Some family medical emergencies kept us from finishing it on time.


For photos of the entire toyline, check out The Toy Box and Action Figure Archive.

If people remember anything about Captain Power, it's likely to be that the toy line was interactive with the show. If you've been watching along with us, you may have noticed that Dread's forces and their vehicles all have some sort of glowing red box of one type or another on them. That wasn't an attempt to make them look more cool, they're actually targets. Using the Powerjet XT-7 (a lightgun disguised as one of the ships from the show) you'd rack up points for every "hit" on the various targets, and subsequently had points taken away when the sensor on the toy was hit. If the point counter on your XT-7 hit zero, the figure inside was ejected, putting an exclamation point on your failure to save mankind.

April 5, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldier of the Future - The Comic


Here's where I make a confession I know a few people will find shocking: I'm not a fan of Neal Adams. He seems like an okay dude, certainly makes for a lively interview, but I just don't get into his comics all that much. I don't hate them, there's just a certain hamminess and clunkiness to them which keeps me from being all that interested in what's going on from page to page. He's a magnificent illustrator, certainly, and his individual panels are gorgeous, but his layouts lack any flow or momentum, and the constant over-wrought emotions strung throughout leaves those emotions, which he's working so hard to convey, feeling forced and insincere. And then there's his writing. He's a freakin' mess as a writer, with choppy dialogue, poor motivations, and scattershot plotting.

So no, not a fan of the dude, which is why I was a bit hesitant to check out these comics. All of the above? Still applies here, though I will go through the books a bit more beyond those feelings for those interested.

March 28, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, unproduced episode "Face of Darkness"

Taken from an undated draft, written by David Bennett Carren and J. Larry Carroll. There's no title page, but the original title "Face of Fear" has been crossed out on page one.


Blastarr leads a swarm of forces through the city of Toronto, dead set on wiping out any remaining human presence. A pack of survivors cram down into a subway station, but find themselves surrounded with Dread Troopers on one side, a Hunter-Seeker on the other. The Hunter-Seeker orders the Troopers back to the street so he can finish the humans off himself, but when the bots question him, he de-cloaks, revealing a Power-Suited Scout who quickly blasts into them. He orders the survivors to take off down a tunnel to where Captain Power and the others are loading other pockets of refugees on the Dropship, but they're reluctant, saying a monster is known to roam these tunnels. "There's monsters here!" Scout shouts, forcing them along as more Troopers flood in. As he's set to cover their rear, Blastarr arrives, blowing off Scout's Power Armor and knocking him down an empty elevator shaft. Blastarr is set to leave, declaring Scout "terminated", but he's ordered by Dread to find and recover the body in the hopes of examining the Power Armor.

March 14, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: Season 2

Storyline summaries are compiled from the Wikipedia page and this guide.

Noel did also look at a draft of the series bible, but as it turned out to be an early draft where even the first season has striking differences from what made it to air, he's going to save that for a full article a few weeks down the road from now.

Written by Larry DiTillio

"Part 1"

Power and his team are on the run after the destruction of the Power Base. They take refuge in the Passages, but Power is consumed by his desire for revenge on Locke, whom he blames for the death of Pilot. This ultimately brings him face-to-face with the new Lord Dread, a cyborg who is now far more machine than man, who decides it's time to re-establish his authority by reclaiming Tech City. Introduced is Christine O'Connor, who soon joins the team as Ranger.

March 8, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 22 "Retribution, Part 2"

Power visits Pilot in her quarters, where they reminisce over her Dread Youth cap and how far they've come together. She's about to tell him something, but they're interrupted by Scout calling in that it's time to head out for their latest mission. They head out to meet Locke, who slips them a chip full of stolen data, and also claims Cypher has been captured and gives them the route of where he'll be transported over the next hour. Troopers attack, but our heroes fight them off and leave Locke behind with thanks. An Overunit appears, thanking Locke for setting up a double cross, for which a steaming Locke gives him a sock to the jaw before storming off.

March 1, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 21 "Retribution, Part 1"

At the Power Base, Power glumly stews over monitors while the rest of the team celebrates the victory of the last two episodes, the men taking turns dancing with Pilot. They shift over to Power, pulling him out of his funk as they clear the floor for he and Pilot to spend a round in each others' arms.

February 22, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 20 "New Order, Part 2: The Land Shall Burn Them"

The satellite is still plummeting towards Volcania. Dread orders a still-regenerating Soaron to throw everything he has at it, including himself, but the satellite still plows through and collides with the central spire. Lacchi is malfunctioning from blows, and Overmind is stunned as it experiences pain for the first time, leaving Biodreads throughout scrambled and confused. Dread is unharmed and the plasma storm of Prometheus is still set to launch.

February 15, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 19 "New Order, Part 1: The Sky Shall Swallow Them"

Power and Scout meet up with a dude named Locke who passes them info on the latest stage of Project New Order. They come under attack from Soaron and Blastarr, but get away.

At the Power Base, they decode the data, revealing they have less than 2 hours to stop both the Icarus and Prometheus stages of New Order. Icarus will use a massive, orbital digitizer to gobble up the entire remaining population of the east coast, followed by the ignition of Prometheus, which will bathe that land in a plasma storm, burning it clean so Dread's new empire can build atop it. They stock up on everything they've got and plan to storm Volcania itself. Pilot uses what time she has practicing on a simulator a trench run she'll need to fly. She can't crack it, but Power reassures her with a kiss on the cheek.

February 8, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 18 "Freedom One"

Freedom One has become an important part of the resistance, a pirate radio host using her reassuring voice to spread news about skirmish victories and enemy movements. Her regular broadcast is late, which catches the attention of Power's team. They light up when she finally hits the air, decoding within the broadcast a microburst of her location and an emergency request to meet.

February 1, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 17 "The Eden Road"

The resistance leader Cypher is blindfolded and led to the Power Base to personally tell Captain Power about his discovery of a contact for the first of several stages in the underground railroad leading to Eden II. Dread's forces are closing in on the location, so if our heroes want in on a meeting Eden II is proposing, they have to do it now before the contact is relocated.

January 18, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 16 "A Summoning of Thunder, Part 2"

As Lord Dread, Lacchi, and Soaron close in on Captain Power at the memorial, Dread flashes back to the day Stuart Power arrived at Volcania for his final confrontation with Lyman Taggert. Taggert casually has his old friend at gunpoint as he invites Stuart to join Overmind, use his talent and invention to quicken their cause in rebuilding a new world. Stuart has none of it, tearing it all down as murder, that all the machines will be is a tomb to the old world it destroys.

January 12, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 15 "A Summoning of Thunder, Part 1"

Biodreads swarm. Laser fire, digitizations, screams and roars, Lord Dread looming over it all. A young man cries out to his father, who screams. An explosion.

Captain Power shoots awake in his bunk. He barely pauses before grabbing his gear, and Hawk's not surprised as Power heads outside on his own, same as he does every year. Power uses a gate to teleport out to a tree alongside a lake, below which is a plaque reading "Dr. Stuart Gordon Power, 2092-2132. His light will never fade."

January 4, 2015

Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, episode 14 "Judgement"

Power and Pilot have managed to get their hands on a data tape concerning Project New Order, and are racing over a desert on a hover bike, Soaron blasting away at their tail. Just as they score a hit against the Dread, he also blows off part of their bike, and everyone spirals to the desert floor. Power has a broken leg, so Pilot binds him up and drags him to shelter under rocks, then heads off to Oasis, a water town, for help.